Its circular on statutory transfer orders issued this week finalises proposals, first published in draft form for consultation back in November 1993. The thrust of the proposals has remained unchanged and the circular won broad support this week from the associations.
The circular says out-going councils should put together a list of their staff which they believe are eligible for statutory transfer under the Staff Commission's definition.
These provisional notices should then be sent to successor authorities to be agreed. Where the new councils feel the circular's criteria have not been properly applied they can appeal to the Staff Commission. Agreed notices have to be approved by the DoE.
Tina Day, review co-ordinator at the Association of County Councils, said the associations were united in wanting to maximise the number of people covered by statutory transfers. 'The key issue is whether this constitutes a minimum on which to extend and build locally in discussions. I can't see in any sense the definition could be seen as a cap and it certainly must not be interpreted as such', she said. Both Mr Pinkham and Ms Day are concerned about the Staff Commission's decision not to pronounce on how employees based in direct service organisations should be treated. The circular says decisions must await consultation that will follow the publication of a DoE paper on DSOs.
'I don't believe what the DoE is going to come up with would substantially affect staff in this area and that the Staff Commission could quite easily have included DSO staff in the circular', said Mr Pinkham.
The circular reaffirms the Staff Commission's initial view that all head of paid service and chief officer posts should be subject to open recruitment. This will be a mandatory requirement applying from the commencement date.
Staff not covered by STOs or the open competition requirement will compete for jobs under prior consideration arrangements. The commission has stuck to its decision to keep the prior consideration pool narrow.